Gold Futures up 0.2% in light trading

New York (Jan 4)  Gold futures ended slightly higher Friday as U.S. equities declined, boosting demand for the metal as an alternative investment.

Gold futures for February delivery rose 0.2% to close at US$1,186.20 an ounce.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of equities erased an earlier advance after data showed U.S. manufacturing expanded less than forecast in December.

Trading was 22% below the 100-day average for this time.

On a most-active basis, gold futures lost 0.9% over the course of the holiday-shortened week, marking the precious metal's third straight weekly decline. Gold dropped 1.5% last year.

In other metals, silver futures for March delivery gained 1.1% to US$15.768 an ounce on the Comex. For the week, the metal was down 2.3%.

Platinum futures for April delivery dropped 0.5% to US$1,203.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Palladium futures for March delivery declined 0.4% to US$794.85 an ounce.